Melinda decided to use raised beds because there are so many rocks in her garden area. She started out with square foot gardening. Her raised beds were 3 feet by 3 feet square. She decided this year that it was a lot of wasted space so two of the squares were joined together to make a 3 foot by 12 foot rectangle. They are built with cinder blocks, lined with landscaping plastic and filled with a mixture of top soil, bagged garden soil, peat moss, vermiculite and manure.
A drip line system is used to water the garden. It is customized to the particular plants growing in a given area. Since Melinda rotates where the crops are planted each year, the customized drip line will actually move with the plants. It can be disconnected from the main lines in each box and moved to, and reconnected, in another box.
Melinda also uses companion planting in her garden. She has a book called “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte. This book explains the plants that benefit each other when planted together. When it becomes too warm for the peas to thrive, she will replace them with watermelon and potatoes. Onions will be added to the beets. The area around the base of her fruit trees with be planting areas as well. Under the apple trees will be chives. Under the Peach trees will be garlic.
By July 15, 2014 the peas and the spinach are harvested and finished. She is still harvesting some of the lettuce. She is planning on planting small red potatoes in the area where the peas and spinach were. She was able to complete the preparation for planting along the back of the garden. She planted a second section of corn that will be 3-4 weeks behind her first batch. She has planted squash with this corn. Pumpkin was planted with the earlier corn. Her father-in-law built her a tilted frame for her cucumbers out of 2x4s and twine. The plants will climb the twine and the cucumbers will hang beneath it for easy harvesting. She decided not to plant the herbs beneath the fruit trees and has planted them in the back garden instead. She had some winter damage to her peach tree and is not sure if it will make it or not.
Overall Garden picutes
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Raised bed with spinach on one side, peas in the middle and spinach on the other side.
A frame has been placed in the bed to facilitate the peas in climbing. This will make it easier to find and harvest the peas. The frame is made from four sided tomato cages that have been opened up and spread out along the length and width of the raised bed. It has then had twine interwoven with the wire on the cages to help with the climbing. The twine’s fuzzy texture makes it easier for the peas to attach.
Raised bed with Beets and Onions
Jalapeno peppers and green peppers
Carrots, Sage, Cauliflower, Oregano